Ann Wilson on inspiration and ways to agitate
Ann Wilson has been pushing boundaries since the release of Heart’s debut album, Dreamboat Annie, in 1976. Wilson joined the band in the early ’70s at the age of 22, and her younger sister, Nancy, soon followed suit. Between Nancy’s guitar virtuosity and Wilson’s killer vocals, the two changed the face of music, reframing preconceived notions of who and what rock stars could be. Songs like the opening track on Dreamboat Annie, “Magic Man”—which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—marked a significant shift in rock lyricism to the female perspective. By channeling her lived experience through songwriting, Wilson echoed the feelings and experiences of a wider array of female listeners, solidifying her place as a pioneer in a male-dominated industry.
“When I first started out in music, I was answering a call to be a musician,“ says Wilson. “I was raised by a mother who just said, ‘Well, you can do whatever you want, why not?’ So I really took that to heart. I never once stood away and looked in at myself and said, ‘Oh, you’re a pioneer.’ I was just looking from the inside out and went, ‘I’m doing this!’ But the net effect is that younger people or women or whoever have watched me and others and gone, ‘Well, yeah, if she can do it, I can do it.”